Trump faces Father’s Day pleas to end separations of migrant families

Trump faces Father’s Day pleas to end separations of migrant families
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Numerous Democratic lawmakers and immigration advocates used the Father’s Day holiday on Sunday to amplify calls for an end to the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families who cross the U.S.–Mexico border illegally. 

A wave of Democrats took to Twitter to declare Sunday a "#FathersDayofAction." The representatives sought to raise awareness of the Trump administration's so-called zero tolerance policy and to pressure President TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE and Republican leaders to end the practice. 

"This #FathersDay, the Trump Administration is CHOOSING to forcibly separate children from their parents who are legally seeking asylum. I repeat, there is NO LAW requiring this," Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezCNN anchors break into laughter over comedian's alleged prank call to Trump Comedian claims he tricked Trump while impersonating Dem senator Schumer: Obama 'very amenable' to helping Senate Dems in midterms MORE (D-N.J.) tweeted.

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"This Father's Day, I can't stop thinking about the children being separated from their parents by the Trump administration," Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphySenate Dems rip Trump after Putin news conference Dems launch pressure campaign over migrant families Sunday shows preview: Trump readies for meeting with Putin MORE (D-Conn.) tweeted. "It's time for Congress to pass the #KeepFamiliesTogether Act to put a stop to this inhumane policy."

"As @realDonaldTrump celebrates #FathersDay, I urge him to rethink the hardline immigration rhetoric put forth by his Administration that creates an environment of unjust racial bias, distrust, profiling & the separation of families," Rep. Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralHouse GOP reverses, cancels vote on Dem bill to abolish ICE This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Eric Holder: Calls to abolish ICE are 'a gift to Republicans' MORE (D-N.Y.) tweeted.

Some lawmakers took the fight to House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit Former Trump aide says he canceled CNN appearance over 'atrocious' Helsinki coverage MORE (R-Wis.) by responding to his tweet commemorating Father's Day.

"Happy early #FathersDay to those who didn't have our kids ripped away from us by the new @realDonaldTrump family separation policy that is being enabled by @SpeakerRyan," Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted.

Ryan is among the group of Republican lawmakers who have said they oppose the policy that separates children from their parents at the border.

While Trump and White House officials have blamed Democrats for the policy, the practice was enacted earlier this year when Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRyan: 'The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally' Conservatives moving to impeach Rosenstein soon: report Senators urge DOJ to probe whether Russians posed as Islamic extremist hackers to harass US military families MORE announced the Department of Justice would criminally prosecute all adults attempting to cross the U.S.–Mexico border illegally.

Sessions acknowledged the process could lead to children being separated from their parents upon being apprehended.

Trump administration officials have repeatedly defended the policy, arguing that it acts as a deterrent against illegal immigration. 

While Democrats and Republicans have spoken out against the practice, the White House has indicated it does not intend to end the policy unilaterally.

As part of an effort to raise awareness and push back against the policy, lawmakers have toured holding facilities where migrants are being kept. A group of House Democrats visited an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in New Jersey on Sunday morning.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) is scheduled to lead a group of congressional lawmakers on a tour of a Brownsville, Texas, facility later on Sunday.

"This #FathersDay, I’m thinking of when my kids were young & how impossibly awful the idea of losing them would have been. Ripping children away from parents is cruel. We need a #FathersDayOfAction to #KeepFamiliesTogether – & that’s why I’m headed back to the TX border right now," Merkley tweeted.

A number of other Democrats and immigration advocates did not mention the president directly, but still used Father's Day to voice opposition to the administration's policy.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) asked the acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security to look into the treatment of immigrant families.

Chelsea Clinton tweeted that "no parent, no person" should support the separation of families.